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VIDEO OF THE DAY: How The Slinky “Defies Gravity”
June 20, 2012
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If you've ever dropped a Slinky from a tall building, you might have noticed something a little strange (other than the fact that you're spending time dropping toys from buildings). As these slow-motion shots from YouTube user Veritasium prove, the toy seems to defy gravity: the bottom of the Slinky doesn't move, while the top falls at the speed you might expect.

So what's going on? Luckily, science had time to investigate, and here's what it came up with: the centre of any falling object will naturally accelerate downward. But at the same time as it's falling, the Slinky is trying to coil back up into its closed state, so the bottom is moving upward while the top and middle fall. What looks like a Slinky standing still in mid-air is actually a combination of two forces - a downward fall and a coiling rise.

Check out the slow-mo footage, and a lengthier explanation from University of Sydney Associate Professor Mike Wheatland, below, and if you want to get even nerdier with it, here are some mathematical equations that account for the effect. By the way, we don't recommend dropping Slinkys off buildings - you could put someone's eye out:

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